Latest posts by Yusuf Nakhooda (see all)
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Don’t blink when quarterback Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma’s high-powered offense take the field early in games.
The Sooners have averaged 34 points in the first half of their past five games and scored at least 20 points in the first half of all but two games this season. Their most stunning early performance was a 38-point barrage in the first half of a win over TCU, which entered that game with the nation’s No. 6 scoring and yardage defense.
No. 2 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12, No. 4 CFP) will try to duplicate that early season effort in a rematch with No. 10 TCU in the Big 12 championship game Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
Against West Virginia on Saturday, Oklahoma had 443 yards at halftime – 238 passing and 205 rushing. The Sooners led 45-10 at the break and eventually rolled to a 59-31 victory.
Overall, Oklahoma leads the nation with 593.5 yards per game and ranks second in passing offense and fourth in scoring offense. Mayfield leads the nation in passing efficiency with a mark that would break the FBS record he set last season.
Oklahoma unveiled another weapon against West Virginia that TCU (10-2, 7-2, No. 12 CFP) might have to deal with – backup quarterback Kyler Murray’s running ability. Murray started against the Mountaineers in place of Mayfield, who was benched for disciplinary reasons. Murray ripped off a 66-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. He is one of the fastest players on the team, and the play showed another wrinkle in an already potent offense.
Oklahoma’s defense answered the call against the Mountaineers too, forcing a turnover in the final minute of the first half that led to Austin Seibert’s career-long 51-yard field goal as time expired.
If the Horned Frogs can contain the Sooners in the first half, they should be in good shape. TCU has allowed just six points total and no touchdowns in the second half of its past seven games. TCU’s defense ranks eighth nationally in yards allowed, second in rushing defense and eighth in scoring defense. Containing the Sooners is easier said than done. If Oklahoma gets on a scoring roll, this game could be over fast.
Prediciton: Oklahoma Sooners 35 TCU Horned Frogs 21